BC government promises relief for outdoor adventure businesses

Adventure relief coming

The B.C. government is promising rent relief for outdoor adventure operators in our province.

A news release from the province says eligible outdoor adventure businesses, fishing and hunting lodges, guest ranches, ecotourism lodges, seasonal campgrounds and other commercial recreation operators will receive financial assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Holders of Land Act tenures and Park Act permits that are commercial recreation operators may qualify to have the annual base rent they pay to the government waived for one year. The government says that $1.36 million has been earmarked for rent forgiveness, which will benefit 592 Land Act tenure holders and 443 Park Act permit holders.

"We want to help people who own or run outdoor recreation companies because they are important to rural economies and they've been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic," said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. "By offering rent relief, we hope that they can continue to contribute to the well-being of remote communities throughout British Columbia."

The co-owner and Operations Manager of Myra Canyon Adventure Park, Suzanne Lafleur tells Castanet she isn't sure yet if this new government program will impact her business however, "we feel it is wonderful that the government is recognizing how crucial it is to support tourism operators in B.C. We greatly appreciate the support we've received from our local adventurists this season. We are happy to have a large outdoor park we can offer for fresh air and exercise!"

Lafleur says "all things considered" they had a pretty good summer and they are planning on transforming the park for Halloween so people have something to look forward to at the end of October.

Many commercial recreation operators in backcountry areas of Crown land have continued to be significantly impacted by travel restrictions and other factors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"B.C.'s world-renowned and much-valued parks system is important to the economic health of rural and remote communities, providing opportunities for tourism and commercial recreation activities, in addition to increasingly welcome outdoor recreation for British Columbians and visitors," said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. "The pandemic-related travel restrictions have severely impacted many commercial park operators who have been asking for relief. By forgiving rents, we are responding to the needs of these businesses that continue to offer safe and healthy outdoor experiences in our provincial parks during these challenging times."

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